Two months ago Intern Elliot broke the news that City Manager Mary Suhm was considering putting Dallas Farmers Market (and Fair Park) in the hands of a private operator, a la the city's deal with the Dallas Zoological Society last year. At the time, there was no time line for what that might happen -- it was merely something Suhm was considering, given, she said, numerous vendors' interest following on the heels of the Dallas Zoo deal.
Over on the City Hall Blog today, Rudy Bush notes that the city's actually taking proposals at this very moment. And, sure enough, on the city's official bid site it notes that the request for proposals was posted August 20, with September 22 listed as the final date bids will be accepted before, just maybe, a council vote in December. That notice you see above comes from the classifieds section of this morning's paper, where RFPs are listed every Thursday.
On the other side is the RFP, which says, among other things, that the city is "seeking responses from experienced management firms or teams to market, manage, lease and operate the DFM" to, among other things, "foment the recruitment and retention of farmers, produce dealers and vendors to support for the day to day operations needs of the DFM; create and impose a reasonable rental and fee rate structure for the support of the daily operations of the DFM ... and recognize the historic importance of the DFM and preserve the Market for future generations." It also notes that whoever winds up with the winning proposal will operate the market with "no contributed funds from the City to the operating budget of the DFM."
Along with the solicitation are myriad supporting documents of note -- chief among them one that lists the market's finances dating back to FY2006-07. Says the doc below, Dallas Farmers Market has lost money every year since, and that ain't about to change:
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